Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Santa Cruz Island Adventure
By Serena Zahler (05/24/10 18:32:22)
Related animals: Anemone, Bald Eagle, Butterfly, Crab, Dolphin, Fish, Fox, Hermit Crab, Humpback Whale, Scrub Jay, Seal, Whale

The class trip was truly an inspiring experience in which I not only learned about the life on the island, but also about my place within that environment which extends to my place in my ecosystem. On the trip I was mesmerized by the lush beauty of the Island itself as well as the animals that call it home. I sun bathed with a firefly, wanted to dress up the cute little foxes, smelled the island skunk, and more. The most eye opening experience for me was when I stayed behind at the beach on Saturday with some of my fellow classmates and professor and began looking in the tide pools around the cliff/rock face. There I found a peaceful anemone being bothered by millions of hermit crabs. As I began to search around the rocks for seashells (one of my favorite beach activities), I found myself startled and scared of the crabs that call this place home. I would lift up a rock determined to find the perfect shell. Instead I found crabs running for safety and I would scream in fear, which turned into excitement. Lisa and my classmates thought it was ridiculously funny that I was screaming at these little harmless creatures, while destroying their rock home. Back at camp, I thought about my day at the cliffs and how ridiculous my elephant and mouse routine was. But my reactions to this experience though insane weren't that far off from my groups reactions to other animals. As we drove to the coast, we drove like something out of a Wiley Coyote cartoon speeding up to see a wild turkey that was running down the road for its life! That day in the overcast grey on the cliffs of Santa Cruz Island, I realized that I can only change my reactions to other creatures by rethinking the way I think about them.
So from now on, I will try to better gage my reactions by thinking about how the other species is feeling about my presence and what my actions will do to them. I pledge to no longer move crab rock homes and scream at them from atop. These experiences have shown me that we are only human and maybe the other species who live peacefully amongst each other with mutual respect have it right and humans just have to catch up. I think our class though a slow start is making progress towards a place where we aren't in crazed, barbaric excitement when seeing animals putting their lives at risk for our enjoyment and fascination.

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